Movie Review: Lugosi – The Forgotten King

lugosi forgotten king 3

Lugosi: The Forgotten King (1985, 2018)
Directed by Mark Gilman Jr. & Dave Stuckey

In 1985, with the early days of VHS tapes and video stores, there weren’t too many documentary titles out there, especially on horror movies or their stars, unless you count a few trailers collections. But I can remember coming across one title in particular that was on the shelves, Lugosi: The Forgotten King. Being an young and eager fan to learn as much as I can about the horror genre, especially one of its icons, I immediately rented it. Even though the running time was short, showed the audience a little bit more behind the man and really how much of a talent he was. Now, 35 years later, it is out on DVD in an updated version, through Operator 13 Productions.


Let me state right away that between the two titans of terror, Karloff and Lugosi, I will always be in the Karloff camp. But nonetheless, no horror fan of the classic era cannot see the brilliance in Lugosi and his work. Yes, he was usually given much lower budgeted film roles than Karloff, especially later in his career, but he always gave those roles a hundred percent of his skills. And it showed. Some of his performances, such as in White Zombie (1932), The Black Cat (1934), Son of Frankenstein (1939), and even in Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), showed his powerful screen presence.

Narrated by Forrest J. Ackerman, this documentary explores the man behind the cape, hearing from people that worked directly with him. Some of these interviews are from the original release while there are a few more that have been added for this updated version. We get to hear from his co-workers like Ralph Bellamy, Carroll Borland, Alex Gordon, Donnie Dunagan, Carla Laemmle, and many others, and even Sara Karloff and Bela Lugosi Jr. It really gives a deeper look into Bela Lugosi, the actor, the man, the icon.


Sure, we all know that Lugosi’s last years, mainly working with Ed Wood Jr., didn’t churn out the highest quality productions. But watching those, you can still see the professional actor doing his job. One thing that modern fans tend to forget to see is the whole picture of an actor life and work, instead just focusing on some low budget title, like Plan Nine from Outer Space (1959). But with a little research and an open mind, you can learn much more about these actors and what they were going through at the time. Then, maybe you can gain a little more respect for them and their work.

Lugosi: The Forgotten King does an exceptional job doing that. Because of the producers of this, and the legions of fans of the classic horror films and their stars, Bela Lugosi will never be forgotten.


You can order your copy from Operator 13 Production’s site HERE. You can also watch the trailer for the documentary below.


One thought on “Movie Review: Lugosi – The Forgotten King

  1. Pingback: Lugosi: The Forgotten King Review | Operator 13 Productions

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